~ A DriveWays Review ~
by Frank A. Aukofer

Following the introduction of the all-new 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander three-row crossover sport utility vehicle, the Japanese manufacturer now trumpets its electrified sibling, the 2023 Outlander PHEV.

For those who haven’t noticed, PHEV stands for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, an acronym that is not quite accurate. The Outlander gets its power mainly from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers fuel economy of 26 miles to the gallon in combined city/highway driving.

Combine that ICE (for Internal Combustion Engine) with two electric motors and the system delivers the Miles Per Gallon equivalent of 64 MPGe, certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Altogether, the electric motors and gasoline engine make 248 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, or twisting force.

One electric motor and the gasoline engine power the front wheels and can boost the battery charge. The Outlander also uses regenerative braking to help recharge, the aggressiveness of which can be adjusted by the driver. The electric motor in back drives the rear wheels in the S-AWC all-wheel drive system.

Moreover, with its 20 kWh lithium ion battery tucked under the floor, the new Outlander PHEV can function purely on electric power for 38 miles before the hybrid system engages. For many people, that could mean skipping stops to gas up at the service station.

It takes about 6.5 hours to charge the depleted battery pack on a level two, 240-volt charger—the most common for home or apartment use. A commercial DC fast charger can bring the battery up to 80% in about 38 minutes. However, on a standard 110 volt home outlet, charging takes 16 hours.

Touch a button on the console to activate electric driving, which delivers instant power because electric motors deliver maximum torque as soon as they are activated. They enable a single-speed direct-drive automatic transmission, with no shift points. It gets even better in hybrid mode, when the electric motors and the gasoline engine work in concert to empower acceleration to 60 miles an hour in the seven-second range.

That’s not outstanding in this era but is certainly respectable for a vehicle that, in the tested top-line SEL trim, weighs 4,751 pounds. To achieve that, however, you must select the Power drive mode. Other modes are Eco and Normal. In addition, there are settings for different road conditions: Tarmac, Gravel, Snow and Mud.

As with any new vehicle, first impressions are important. The Outlander, with its bold grille and triple-decker headlights, looks almost menacing while still retaining a stylish profile. Inside there are three rows of seats to accommodate seven passengers. But figure only four of them will be reasonably comfortable—the front row bucket seats for the driver and shotgun, and the two outboard second-row seats.

In the second row, the center position is marginal, though all three seats have fore-and-aft travel of about eight inches. That’s necessary because if they are not adjusted almost fully forward, there’s no knee room in the third row. So if the second-row passengers have decent comfort, the third row is uninhabitable except for watermelons, backpacks and legless gnomes.

The surroundings, however, border on elevated luxury, with perforated leather upholstery highlighted by contrasting stitching, as well as stylish trim elements on the dash and doors. A prominent center screen handles infotainment and other functions, including navigation, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, HD and SXM satellite radio, and Bluetooth. There’s also wireless smart phone charging, and tri-zone automatic climate control.

On the road, the Outlander PHEV delivers a relaxing ride on all but the worst surfaces, cruises quietly and handles capably on curving roads.

One downside: PHEV vehicles are usually more expensive than their gasoline or standard hybrid counterparts. A top-line 2022 Outlander SEL gasoline-engine model with all-wheel drive tested for this column came with a base price of $34,940 and a suggested delivered price, with options, of $37,995.

The 2023 Outlander SEL PHEV reviewed here had a base price of $46,790 and a tested price of $50,880. Part of the price disparity will fade over the years because the EPA rates the annual fuel cost of the ICE model at $2,000, where the PHEV is listed at $1,300.

Some frosting: it comes with a 5-year/60,000 mile unlimited warranty and 10 years/100,000 miles on the drive train.


  • Model: 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SEL S-AWC four-door, three-row sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine/motors: 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine; two electric motors; combined output 248 hp, 332 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: single-speed direct-drive with all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 5 inches.
  • Height: 5 feet 9 inches.
  • EPA/SAE passenger/cargo volume: 120/12 cubic feet; cargo 36 cubic feet with third row folded.
  • Weight: 4,751 pounds.
  • EPA miles per gallon equivalent, electricity and gasoline: 64 MPGe; gasoline only: 26 MPG.
  • Electric only range: 38 miles.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $46,790.
  • Price as tested: $50,880.

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review. Photos ©Mitsubishi